Survey Sites debunked – risks and rewards when filling in online surveys


Market research is a crucial process for any company that wants to get feedback or enhance the quality of its products, and the best way to obtain relevant data is to ask customers directly. If in the past companies would engage in door to door surveys and allocate huge amounts of money to research, now they can simply conduct online surveys and reach the desired demographic faster. According to an ESOMAR study conducted in 2006, more than 20% of collected data comes from online surveys. This strategy seems to be mutually beneficial: on the one hand, the company gets its much needed data in a short time frame, with minimum investment and, on the other hand, customers can get incentives from answering questions. The Web abounds in survey websites that promise cash and rewards in exchange for a few moments of the member’s time, but are they all reliable or should you be skeptical?

Benefits of paid surveys


When legitimate and conduced with honest intentions, paid surveys offer many considerable benefits to people who are looking for extra income or want to make their opinion heard. Although it is very difficult to make a living only out of this activity, people who are consistent in filling in surveys can receive decent amounts of cash and various rewards. Categories such as students or work at home parents should consider registering on data collecting websites, because answering their questions does not take a long time.  Also, survey work is flexible and users can choose to participate whenever they wish. With the advent of smartphones and responsive web design, some companies even allow members to access surveys from platforms other than computers. This way, they can make money on the go.


What kind of rewards do survey sites offer?


Survey work rewards generally pertain in two categories:


  • Financial rewards (money): the user receives a small amount of cash, depending on how long it takes to complete the survey. Generally, the estimated time of completion is displayed before the user starts answering questions.


  • Incentives: as a reward for completing a survey, the organizer may offer the user certain rewards, such as discounts, samples, invitations to special events, gifts or the chance to participate in contests with great prizes.


Are there risks associated with paid surveys?

Legitimate survey sites can be very helpful, but there are also companies that take advantage of people’s wish to make quick money online. Unfortunately, Internet scams are real and they can jeopardize the users’ money and personal information, as presented in more detail here. There are two major risks when using fraudulent data collecting websites:


  • The user’s personal information can end up in the wrong hands: some websites send personal details (name, phone number, e-mail address, credit card number) to third parties without the user’s knowledge or consent;


  • Users can lose their money. It is a common practice among scammers to request payment for registration and then never contact the user again. They sometimes ask for the credit card number or charge hidden fees. Most scam websites don’t last long on the Web, because word spreads fast, negative reviews start to appear and the site has to other option but to go offline, never to return stolen money.


The basic idea behind surveys is not dangerous or evil. On the contrary, they are an excellent way to gain rewards while helping a company or organization with an honest opinion. However, it’s important to look out for scams. This can be done by reading basic information about clear signs of scams and by checking websites like Surveys Say for up-to-date website reviews. It should be pointed out that scam practices evolve quite quickly, so users have to be permanently alert.



Things to look at when registering on a survey site

No one should never register on a survey site based only on ads or email marketing. To avoid scams and wasted time, users should ask themselves several questions:


  • Is the website easy to use and accessible from multiple platforms?

The best survey sites have a clean user interface, are easy to use and can be accessed from laptops, mobile phones and tablets. Surveys should have a user-friendly page setup and large buttons so the answer can be provided quickly.


  • Do the rewards match the time spent on the website?

It is not profitable for the user spends an hour answering dozens of difficult questions and only receive $0.50. It is up to each user to determine how much their time is worth, but, ideally, the rewards offered by a professional website should reflect the user’s efforts.


  • Is the user’s personal information private?

Privacy is one of the most serious criteria when reviewing survey sites and there has been great controversy on how certain companies manage collected data. In an ideal scenario, the user’s contact details should be private and the answers provided should be sent only to the company that requested a survey. However, things don’t always go like this and many websites send data to other parties in exchange for money.


  • Does the website have a transparent privacy policy?

Some people are willing to have their personal details sent to third parties as long as they get the cash they were promised. But, no matter the case, the user should first be informed. The terms and conditions and privacy policy should be easy to find and, most importantly, written in a clear, understandable style. The user should be able to tell immediately if the collected data is private, not struggle with legalese and fine print for hours.


  • Does the website have enough surveys?

Assuming the user has found the perfect legit website, one more box needs to be ticked: it should send the user enough surveys, at regular intervals. The more surveys are completed, the more money is made, so it’s not really profitable to be a member if the site only sends one questionnaire per month.